Biden reportedly backs Michigan as first presidential primary state in 2024

The White House is recommending the Democratic National Committee select Michigan to replace Iowa at the start of the 2024 presidential nominating contest, Politico reported Thursday.

cited senior Democratic Party leaders that officials in President Joe Biden's administration were recommending Michigan become the first state in presidential nominating contests.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Detroit News.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, after meeting with Michigan lawmakers Thursday on Capitol Hill, said she did not have confirmation from the White House that the state had been chosen.

"I've always said Michigan voices are really important and I think an opportunity to weigh in earlier makes a lot of sense for a multiple of reasons," Whitmer told The News.

Michigan Democrats have been trying to get party leaders to ordain Michigan as the first state in the 2024 presidential primary schedule. A DNC subcommittee will meet Friday and Saturday to vote on which five states will vote before Super Tuesday. Michigan was one of 16 states and Puerto Rico that pitched the DNC in June on giving them one of the coveted positions.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Ann Arbor, cautioned Thursday that no decision is official, with the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee still to vote in the coming days. Then the full DNC still would have to adopt that recommendation when it meets in February, she said.

“We have to wait to see what the Rules and Bylaws Committee does," Dingell told The News. "We made a very good case and presentation."

“But remember this was a fight that (the late Sen.) Carl Levin started 20 years ago," Dingell added.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, said Thursday he talked with Biden about making Michigan the first primary state on Tuesday aboard Air Force One during the president's trip to Bay City.

States who hold primaries early — such as Iowa and New Hampshire traditionally — are showered with campaign funds and national attention every election cycle as media, campaigns and political observers seek early indications on which way voters are leaning.

"It would be transformative," said Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Lansing.

Michigan being the first primary state would contribute to new infrastructure and attention to the state's pressing issues, Slotkin said.

"It would be a huge deal," she said.

The DNC announced in April it would reopen its presidential nominating process after Iowa's bungled 2020 Democratic caucuses gave additional oxygen to complaints that the Midwest state doesn't represent the party's racial or economic diversity.

A group of Michigan Democrats speaking before the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee in Washington this summer argued that the state's racial diversity, rural-urban split and economic sectors represent the swath of voters needed for Democrats to win the general election in 2024. They also argued that nearly every Democratic candidate who won Michigan's presidential primary over the last four decades has gone on to win.

Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield and the delegation’s only African American, said Tuesday that Michigan should surely go before Iowa because of the greater diversity it offers.

“Iowa does not represent our country and our diversity,” she said. “Even the economics. Just think about — there's no manufacturing, right? There is no R&D.”

Republicans, too, have supported the bid to move up Michigan's primary date. Earlier this week, the Republican-controlled Michigan state Senate voted to move the presidential primary from the second Tuesday in March to the second Tuesday in February.

“Michigan should have a very significant say in electing the next Republican as the next President of the United States," Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser said Thursday in a statement.

However, it's unclear whether the Republican National Committee would be willing to make a similar move. Derek Muller, a professor at the University of Iowa College of Law, tweeted Tuesday that the Michigan bill would violate Republican National Committee rules that prohibit primaries before March 1 for states other than Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, said he would be in favor of the change, as long as the state wouldn't lose Republican delegates to the party convention for voting on a different date than the Republican Party rules.

"I think it would be very exciting to be first in the country," he said.